DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Hurriyet Daily News)—An influential Kurdish organization in Turkey has called for the establishment of “democratic autonomy” for Turkey’s embattled Kurdish minority.
The Democratic Society Congress (DTK), which describes itself as a local organization of Kurds in eastern Turkey, presented the first comprehensive draft of its “Democratic Autonomous Kurdistan Model” model at a conference in Dyiarbakir on Sunday of key pro-Kurdish figures that included prominent academics and journalists.
The DTK said the draft is meant to be a text to be debated and that its eventual adoption could be a crucial step in solving the decades-old Kurdish issue in Turkey.
Although the scope of the model is as wide as an independent state, as critics of the draft said, the DTK emphasized that it neither wants to demolish the Turkish state, nor wants an independent state. A stateless model is what the draft highlights.
According to the draft, the proposed autonomous model would organize the Kurdish minority into “political, economic, cultural, social, diplomatic, legal, ecological and self-defense” branches.
“Democratic autonomy aims to democratize the [Turkish] Republic, changing the rigidity of the nation-state that does not satisfy the needs of the people of Turkey while also eliminating the impediment that the nation-state creates in front of the political, social, economic and cultural development of the people,” the draft read.
Attendees discussing the draft at the conference included daily Hurriyet columnist Nuray Mert; academic Zeynep Gambetti; former National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Deputy Undersecretary Cevat Ones; journalists Cengiz Candar, Kadri Gursel, Ahmet Insel and Ayhan Bilgen; and mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). DTK co-heads Ahmet Turk and Aysel Tugluk, and BDP President Selahattin Demirtas were also among the attendees.
According to the DTK draft, the model will be administered at the grassroots level, through “village communes, town councils, district and neighborhood assemblies and city assemblies,” all of which will be represented in an upper body named the “Society Congress.”
“Democratic autonomy would not cause a changing of borders but within those borders it would make stronger the fraternity and unity of people,” the draft said, adding that it would start a new period for Kurdish-Turkish relations with “a new contract between Turkey and the Kurds.”
The conference took place as a grenade explosion Sunday in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district raised tensions in the area. According to Dogan news agency, a hand grenade exploded during a march against military operations that was attended by thousands of people. Five people, including two girls, were wounded, the agency said. Abdullah Eflatun, the provincial leader of the BDP in Silvan, claimed the hand grenade was thrown into the crowd by police officers. Following the explosion, demonstrators clashed with police, who used pressurized water and teargas to disperse the crowd.